Shannon Novak

Shannon Novak is an artist based in Auckland, New Zealand. He works in painting, sculpture, and installation, with a focus on using geometric forms to explore his deep and abiding interest in the interrelationships between sound, colour, form, time, space, and social context.

Novak has completed a number of artist residencies including a residency at Altes Spital (Solothurn, Switzerland) in 2018, and has been engaged in public commissions in New Zealand and the United States of America.

Novak founded the Safe Space Alliance, a global LGBTQI+ led nonprofit organisation that aims to help people identify, navigate, and create safe spaces for LGBTQI+ communities. Museums and galleries have joined from around the world including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MCA Denver, Institute of Contemporary Art, and Museum of London.

Novak’s new work In Bloom addresses human safeguards. During the rule of the Ottoman Empire (16th – 19th century) Croat women would tattoo symbols on their bodies to protect against kidnapping by the Turks. The circle (kolo) would often be used in isolation with internal circles, rays, dots, and twigs (grančice), appearing like celestial light-emitting bodies. This circle of protection has evolved in form and meaning from generation to generation and this work offers a new evolution through Novak’s lens as a Croat.

In Bloom works to protect life from insidiously destructive forces that may be visible or invisible. For Novak it manifests the ever-growing and strengthening alliance of bodies supporting rainbow communities against harm.


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